The Guest House


This being human is a guest house

Every morning is a new arrival

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

Some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

Who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.


Lately, I have been really inspired by the poem “The Guest House” by Rumi.  In very basic terms, it explains that our body and mind are like a guest house to which we welcome the visitors of feelings and emotions.  When one thinks about emotional states in this way, it makes them less scary, less permanent.  If we feel anger rising up in us, we should welcome it, be a good hostess and then gradually it will leave.

It is a Buddhist practice to look at your anger, jealousy, and other negative emotions with a sense of compassion.  Using compassion allows love to extinguish the flame, which is really the best weapon we have.  You can see this common theme also in the traditional roots of Christianity, where Jesus preached the practices of love and peace.

I hope, in this time of turmoil on our planet, we can just remember these fundamental teachings and keep an open mind about others beliefs.  Neither Jesus nor the Buddha would have ever wanted religion to become the dividing factor that it has become today.  Enjoy this poem and let me know what your thoughts are!


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